Criminal Psychology
by Hans Gross
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

A number of classical instances which are brought together by Fink[1] and Smith,[2] show how little the classic Greek thought of woman, and W. Becker[3] estimates as most important the fact that the Greek always gave precedence to children and said, .'' The Greek naturalists, Hippocrates and Aristotle, modestly held woman to be half human, and even the poet Homer is not free from this point of view (cf. the advice of Agamemnon to Odysseus). Moreover, he speaks mostly concerning the scan- dalmongering and lying of women, while later, Euripides directly reduces the status of women to the minimum (cf. Iphigenia).

[1] Romantic Love and Personal Beauty. H. Fink. London 1887.

[2] Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.

[3] Bilder altgriechischer Sitte.

The attention of ancient Rome is always directed upon the puzzling, sphinx-like, unharmonious qualities in woman. Horace gives it the clearest expression, e. g., "Desinite in piscem mulier formosa superne.''

The Orientals have not done any better for us. The Chinese assert that women have no souls. The Mohammedan believes that women are denied entrance to paradise, and the Koran (xliii, 17) defines the woman as a creature which grows up on a soil of finery and baubles, and is always ready to nag. How well such an opinion has sustained itself, is shown by the Ottomanic Codex 355, according to which the testimony of two women is worth as much as the testimony of one man. But even so, the Koran has a higher opinion of women than the early church fathers. The problem, "An mulier habeas animam,'' was often debated at the councils. One of them, that of Macon, dealt earnestly with the MS. of Acidalius, "Mulieres homines non esse.'' At another, women were forbidden to touch the Eucharist with bare hands. This attitude is implied by the content of countless numbers of evil proverbs which deal with the inferior character of woman, and certainly by the circumstance that so great a number of women were held to be witches, of whom about 100,000 were burned in Germany alone. The statutes dealt with women only in so far as their trustworthiness as witnesses could be depreciated. The Bambergensis (Art. 76), for example, permits the admission of young persons and women only in special cases, and the quarrels of the older lawyers concerning the value of feminine testimony is shown by Mittermaier.[1]

[1] Die Lehre vom Beweise. Darmstadt.

If we discount Tacitus' testimony concerning the high status of women among the Germanic tribes on the basis that he aimed at shaming and reforming his countrymen, we have a long series of assertions, beginning with that of the Norseman Havaml,—which progressively speaks of women in depreciatory fashion, and calls them inconstant, deceitful, and stupefying,—to the very modern maxim which brings together the extreme elevation and extreme degradation of woman: "Give the woman wings and she is either an angel or a beast.'' Terse as this expression is, it ought to imply the proper point of view—women are either superior or inferior to us, and may be both at the same time. There are women who are superior and there are women who are inferior, and further, a single woman may be superior to us in some qualities and inferior in others, but she is not like us in any. The statement that woman is as complete in her own right as man is in his, agrees with the attitude above- mentioned if we correlate the superiority and inferiority of women with "purposefulness.'' We judge a higher or lower organism from our standpoint of power to know, feel, and do, but we judge without considering whether these organisms imply or not the purposes we assume for them. Thus a uniform, monotonous task which is easy but requires uninterrupted attention can be better performed by an average, patient, unthinking individual, than by a genial fiery intellect. The former is much more to the purpose of this work than the latter, but he does not stand higher. The case is so with woman. For many of the purposes assigned to her, she is better constructed. But whether this construction, from our standpoint of knowing and feeling, is to be regarded as higher or lower is another question.

Hence, we are only in a sense correct, when calling some feminine trait which does not coincide with our own a poorer, inferior quality. We are likely to overlook the fact that this quality taken in itself, is the right one for the nature and the tasks of woman, whereas we ought with the modern naturalist assume that every animal has developed correctly for its own purposes. If this were not the case with woman she would be the first exception to the laws of natural evolution. Hence, our task is not to seek out peculiarities and rarities in woman, but to study her status and function as given her by nature. Then we shall see that what we would otherwise have called extraordinary appears as natural necessity. Of course many of the feminine qualities will not bring us back to the position which has required them. Then we may or may not be able to infer it according to the laws of general co-existence, but whether we establish anything directly or indirectly must be for the time, indifferent; we do know the fact before us. If we find only the pelvis of a human skeleton we should be able to infer from its broad form that it belonged to a woman and should be able to ground this inference on the business of reproduction which is woman's. But we shall also be able, although we have only the pelvis before us, to make reliable statements concerning the position of the bones of the lower extremities of *this individual. And we shall be able to say just what the form of the thorax and the curve of the vertebral column were. This, also, we shall have in our power, more or less, to ground on the child-bearing function of woman. But we might go still further and say that this individual, who, according to its pelvic cavity, was a woman, must have had a comparatively smaller skull, and although we can not correlate the present mark with the child- bearing function or any other special characteristic of woman, we may yet infer it safely, because we know that this smaller skull capacity stands in regular relation to the broad pelvis, etc. In a like manner it will be possible to bring together collectively various psychical differences of woman, to define a number of them as directly necessary, and to deduce another number from their regular co-existence. The certainty here will be the same as in the former case, and once it is attained we shall be able satisfactorily to interpret the conduct, etc., of woman.

Before turning to feminine psychology I should like briefly to touch upon the use of the literature in our question and indicate that the poets' results are not good for us so long as we are trying to satisfy our particular legal needs. We might, of course, refer to the poet for information concerning the feminine heart,—woman's most important property,—but the historically famous knowers of the woman's heart leave us in the lurch and even lead us into decided errors. We are not here concerned with the history of literature, nor with the solution of the "dear riddle of woman;'' we are dry-soured lawyers who seek to avoid mistakes at the expense of the honor and liberty of others, and if we do not want to believe the poets it is only because of many costly mistakes. Once we were all young and had ideals. What the poets told us we supposed to be the wisdom of life—nobody else ever offers any—and we wanted compulsorily to solve the most urgent of human problems with our poetical views. Illusions, mistakes, and guiltless remorse, were the consequence of this topsy-turvy work.

Of course I do not mean to drag our poets to court and accuse them of seducing our youth with false gods—I am convinced that if the poets were asked they would tell us that their poetry was intended for all save for physicians and criminalists. But it is conceivable that they have introduced points of view that do not imply real life. Poetical forms do not grow up naturally, and then suddenly come. together in a self-originated idea. The poet creates the idea first, and in order that this may be so the individual form must evolve according to sense. The more natural and inevitable this process becomes the better the poem, but it does not follow that since we do not doubt it because it seems so natural, it mirrors the process of life. Not one of us criminalists has ever seen a form as described in a poem—least of all a woman. Obviously, in our serious and dry work, we may be able to interpret many an observation and assertion of the poet as a golden truth, but only when we have tested its correctness for the daily life. But it must be understood that I am not saying here, that we ourselves might have been able to make the observation, or to abstract a truth from the flux of appearances, or at least to set it in beautiful, terse, and I might say convincing, form. I merely assert, that we must be permitted to examine whether what has been beautifully said may be generalized, and whether we then have found the same, or a similar thing, in the daily life. Paradoxical as it sounds, we must never forget that there is a kind of evidentiality in the form of beauty itself. One of Blopstock's remarkable psalms begins: "Moons wander round the earth, earths round suns, the whole host of suns wander round a greater sun, Our Father, that art thou.'' In this inexpressibly lofty verse there is essentially, and only in an extremely intensified fashion, evidence of the existence of God, and if the convinced atheist should read this verse he would, at least for the moment, believe in his existence. At the same time, a real development of evidence is neither presented nor intended. There are magnificent images, unassailable true propositions: the moon goes round about the earth, the earth about the sun, the whole system around a central sun—and now without anything else, the fourth proposition concerning the identity of the central sun with our heavenly Father is added as true. And the reader is captivated for at least a minute! What I have tried here to show by means of a drastic example occurs many times in poems, and is especially evident where woman is the subject, so that we may unite in believing that the poet can not teach us that subject, that he may only lead us into errors.

To learn about the nature of woman and its difference from that of man we must drop everything poetical. Most conscientiously we must drop all cynicism and seek to find illumination only in serious disciplines. These disciplines may be universal history and the history of culture, but certainly not memoirs, which always represent subjective experience and one-sided views. Anatomy, physiology, anthropology, and serious special literature, presupposed, may give us an unprejudiced outlook, and then with much effort we may observe, compare, and renew our tests of what has been established, sine ire et studio, sine odio et gratia.

I subjoin a list of sources and of especial literature which also contains additional references.[1]

[1] E. Reich: Das Leben des Menschens als Individuum. Berlin 1881.

L. von Stern: Die Frau auf dem Gebiete etc. Stuttgart 1876.

A. Corre: La Mre et l'Enfant dans les Races Humaines. Paris 1882.

A. v. Schweiger-Lerchenfeld: Das Frauenleben auf der Erde. Vienna 1881

J. Michelet. La Femme.

Rykre: Das weibliches Verbrechertum. Brussels 1898.

C. Renooz: Psychologie Compare de l'Homme et de la Femme. Biblio. de. la Nouv. Encyclopaedie. Paris 1898.

Mbius: Der Physiologische Schwachsinn des Weibes.

Section 64. 2. Difference between Man and Women

There are many attempts to determine the difference between the feminine and masculine psyche. Volkmar in his "Textbook of Psychology'' has attempted to review these experiments. But the individual instances show how impossible is clear and definite statement concerning the matter. Much is too broad, much too narrow; much is unintelligible, much at least remotely correct only if one knows the outlook of the discoverer in question, and is inclined to agree with him. Consider the following series of contrasts.

Male Female Individuality Receptivity (Burdach, Berthold) Activity Passivity (Daub, Ulrici, Hagemann) Leadership Imitativeness (Schleiermacher) Vigor Sensitivity to stimulation (Beneke) Conscious activity Unconscious activity (Hartmann) Conscious deduction Unconscious induction (Wundt) Will Consciousness (Fischer) Independence Completeness (Krause, Lindemann) Particularity Generally generic (Volkmann) Negation Affirmation (Hegel and his school)

None of these contrasts are satisfactory, many are unintelligible. Burdach's is correct only within limits and Hartmann's is approximately true if you accept his point of view. I do not believe that these explanations would help anybody or make it easier for him to understand woman. Indeed, to many a man they will appear to be saying merely that the psyche of the male is masculine, that of the female feminine. The thing is not to be done with epigrams however spirited. Epigrams merely tend to increase the already great confusion.

Hardly more help toward understanding the subject is to be derived from certain expressions which deal with a determinate and also with a determining trait of woman. For example, the saying, "On forbidden ground woman is cautious and man keen,'' may, under some circumstances, be of great importance in a criminal case, particularly when it is necessary to fix the sex of the criminal. If the crime was cautiously committed a woman may be inferred, and if swiftly, a man. But that maxim is deficient in two respects. Man and woman deal in the way described, not only in forbidden fields, but generally. Again, such characteristics may be said to be ordinary but in no wise regulative: there are enough cases in which the woman was much keener than the man and the man much more cautious than the woman.

The greatest danger of false conceptions lies in the attribution of an unproved peculiarity to woman, by means of some beautifully expressed, and hence, apparently true, proverb. Consider the well known maxim: Man forgives a beautiful woman everything, woman nothing. Taken in itself the thing is true; we find it in the gossip of the ball-room, and in the most dreadful of criminal cases. Men are inclined to reduce the conduct of a beautiful sinner to the mildest and least offensive terms, while her own sex judge her the more harshly in the degree of her beauty and the number of its partisans. Now it might be easy in an attempt to draw the following consequences from the correctness of this proposition: Men are generally inclined to forgive in kindness, women are the unforgiving creatures. This inference would be altogether unjustified, for the maxim only incidentally has woman for its subject; it might as well read: Woman forgives a handsome man everything, man nothing. What we have at work here is the not particularly remarkable fact that envy plays a great rle in life.

Another difficulty in making use of popular truths in our own observations, lies in their being expressed in more or less definite images. If you say, for example, "Man begs with words, woman with glances,'' you have a proposition that might be of use in many criminal cases, inasmuch as things frequently depend on the demonstration that there was or was not an amour between two people (murder of a husband, relation of the widow with a suspect).

Now, of course, the judge could not see how they conversed together, how he spoke stormily and she turned her eyes away. But suppose that the judge has gotten hold of some letters—then if he makes use of the maxim, he will observe that the man becomes more explicit than the woman, who, up to a certain limit, remains ashamed. So if the man speaks very definitely in his letters, there is no evidence contradictory to the inference of their relationship, even though nothing similar is to be found in her letters. The thing may be expressed in another maxim: What he wants is in the lines; what she wants between the lines.

The great difficulty of distinguishing between man and woman is mentioned in "Levana oder Erziehungslehre,'' by Jean Paul, who says, "A woman can not love her child and the four continents of the world at the same time. A man can.'' But who has ever seen a man love four continents? "He loves the concept, she the appearance, the particular.'' What lawyer understands this? And this? "So long as woman loves, she loves continuously, but man has lucid intervals.'' This fact has been otherwise expressed by Grabbe, who says: "For man the world is his heart, for woman her heart is the world.'' And what are we to learn from this? That the love of woman is greater and fills her life more? Certainly not. We only see that man has more to do than woman, and this prevents him from depending on his impressions, so that he can not allow himself to be completely captured by even his intense inclinations. Hence the old proverb: Every new affection makes man more foolish and woman wiser, meaning that man is held back from his work and effectiveness by every inclination, while woman, each time, gathers new experiences in life. Of course, man also gets a few of these, but he has other and more valuable opportunities of getting them, while woman, who has not his position in the midst of life, must gather her experiences where she may.

Hence, it remains best to stick to simple, sober discoveries which may be described without literary glamour, and which admit of no exception. Such is the statement by Friedreich[1]: "Woman is more excitable, more volatile and movable spiritually, than man; the mind dominates the latter, the emotions the former. Man thinks more, woman senses more.'' These ungarnished, clear words, which offer nothing new, still contain as much as may be said and explained. We may perhaps supplement them with an expression of Heusinger's, "Women have much reproductive but little productive imaginative power. Hence, there are good landscape and portrait painters among women, but as long as women have painted there has not been any great woman-painter of history. They make poems, romances, and sonnets, but not one of them has written a good tragedy.'' This expression shows that the imaginative power of woman is really more reproductive than productive, and it may be so observed in crimes and in the testimony of witnesses.

[1] J. B. Friedreich: System der gerichtlich. Psychol. Regensburg 1852.

In crimes, this fact will not be easy to observe in the deed itself, or in the manner of its execution; it will be observable in the nature of the plan used. To say that the plan indicates productive creation would not be to call it original. Originality can not be indicated, without danger of misunderstanding, by means of even a single example; we have simply to cling to the paradigm of Heusinger, and to say, that when the plan of a criminal act appears more independent and more completely worked out, it may be assumed to be of masculine origin; if it seeks support, however, if it is an imitation of what has already happened, if it aims to find outside assistance during its execution, its originator was a woman. This truth goes so far that in the latter case the woman must be fixed upon as the intellectual source of the plan, even though the criminal actually was a man. The converse inference could hardly be held with justice. If a man has thought out a plan which a woman is to execute, its fundamental lines are wiped out and the woman permits the productive aspect of the matter to disappear, or to become so indefinite that any sure conclusion on the subject is impossible.

Our phenomenon is equally important in statements by witnesses. In many a case in which we suppose the whole or a portion of a witness's testimony to be incorrect, intentionally invented, or involuntarily imagined, we may succeed in extracting a part of the testimony as independent construction, and thus determining what might be incorrect in it. If, when this happens, the witness is a man and his lies show themselves in productive form, and if the witness is a woman and her lies appear to be reproduced, it is possible, at least, that we are being told untruths. The procedure obviously does not in itself contain anything evidential, but it may at least excite suspicion and thus caution, and that, in many cases, is enough. I may say of my own work that I have often gained much advantage from this method. If there were any suspicion that the testimony of a witness, especially the conception of some committed crime, was untrue, I recalled Heusinger, and asked myself "If the thing is untrue, is it a sonnet or a tragedy?'' If the answer was "tragedy'' and the witness a man, or, if the answer was "sonnet'' and the witness a woman, I concluded that everything was possibly invented, and grew quite cautious. If I could come to no conclusion, I was considerably helped by Heusinger's other proposition, asking myself, "Flower-pictures or historical subjects?'' And here again I found something to go by, and the need to be suspicious. I repeat, no evidence is to be attained in this way, but we frequently win when we are warned beforehand.

(3) Sexual Peculiarities.

Section 65. (a) General Considerations.

Even if we know that hunger and love are not the only things that sustain impulse, we also know the profound influence that love and all that depends upon it exercise from time immemorial on the course of events. This being generally true, the question of the influence of sex on woman is more important than that of its influence on man, for a large number of profound conditions are at work in the former which are absent in the latter. Hence, it is in no way sufficient to consider only the physiological traits of the somatic life of woman, i. e., menstruation, pregnancy, child-birth, the suckling period, and finally the climacterium. We must study also the possibly still more important psychical conditions which spring from the feminine nature and are developed by the demands of civilization and custom. We must ask what it means to character when an individual is required from the moment puberty begins, to conceal something for a few days every month; what it means when this secrecy is maintained for a long time during pregnancy, at least toward children and the younger people. Nor can it be denied that the custom which demands more self-control in women must exercise a formative influence on their natures. Our views do not permit the woman to show without great indirection whom she hates or whom she likes; nor may she indicate clearly whom she loves, nor must she appear solicitous. Everything must happen indirectly, secretly, and approximately, and if this need is inherited for centuries, it must, as a characteristic, impart a definite expression to the sex. This expression is of great importance to the criminalist; it is often enough to recall these circumstances in order to find explanation for a whole series of phenomena. What differences the modern point of view and modern tendencies will make remains to be seen. Let us now consider particular characteristics.

Section 66. (b) Menstruation.

We men, in our own life, have no analogy, not even a remote one, to this essentially feminine process. In the mental life of woman it is of greater importance than we are accustomed to suppose. In most cases in which it may be felt that the fact of menstruation influences a crime or a statement of facts, it will be necessary to make use of the court physician, who must report to the judge. The latter absolutely must understand the fact and influence of menstruation. Of course he must also have general knowledge of the whole matter, but he must require the court physician definitely to tell him when the event began and whether any diseased conditions were apparent. Then it is the business of the judge to interpret the physician's report psychologically—and the judge knows neither more nor less psychology, according to his training, than the physician. Any text-book on physiology will give the important facts about menstruation. It is important for us to know that menses begin, in our climate, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth year, and end between the forty-fifth and the fiftieth year. The periods are normally a solar month—from twenty-seven to twenty-eight days, and the menstruation lasts from three to five days. After its conclusion the sexual impulse, even in otherwise frigid women, is in most cases intensified. It is important, moreover, to note the fact that most women, during their periods, show a not insignificant alteration of their mental lives, often exhibiting states of mind that are otherwise foreign to them.

As in many cases it is impossible without other justification to ask whether menses have begun, it is worth while knowing that most women menstruate, according to some authorities, during the first quarter of the moon, and that only a few menstruate during the new or full moon. The facts are very questionable, but we have no other cues for determining that menstruation is taking place. Either the popularly credited signs of it (e. g., a particular appearance, a significant shining of the eyes, bad odor from the mouth, or susceptibility to perspiration) are unreliable, or there are such signs as feeling unwell, tension in the back, fatigue in the bones, etc., which are much more simply and better discovered by direct interrogation, or examination by a physician.

If there is any suspicion that menstruation has influenced testimony or a crime, and if the other, especially the above-mentioned facts, are not against it, we are called upon to decide whether we are considering a mental event, due to the influence of menstruation. Icard[1] has written the best monograph on this subject.

[1] Icard: La Femme dans la Periode Menstruelle. Paris 1890.

Considering the matter in detail, our attention is first called to the importance of the beginning of menstruation. Never is a girl more tender or quiet, never more spiritual and attractive, nor more inclined to good sense, than in the beginning of puberty, generally a little before the menstrual periods have begun, or have become properly ordered. At this time, then, the danger that the young girl may commit a crime is very small, perhaps smaller then at any other time. And hence, it is the more to be feared that such a creature may become the victim of the passions of a rou, or may cause herself the greatest harm by mistaken conduct. This is the more possible when the circumstances are such that the child has little to do, though naturally gifted. Unused spiritual qualities, ennui, waking sensitivity and charm, make a dangerous mixture, which is expressed as a form of interest in exciting experiences, in the romantic, or at least the unusual. Sexual things are perhaps wholly, or partly not understood, but their excitation is present and the results are the harmless dreams of extraordinary experiences. The danger is in these, for from them may arise fantasies, insufficiently justified principles, and inclination to deceit. Then all the prerequirements are present which give rise to those well-known cases of unjust complaints, false testimony about seduction, rape, attempts at rape and even arson, accusing letters, and slander.[1] Every one of us is sufficiently familiar with such accusations, every one of us knows how frequently we can not sufficiently marvel how such and such an otherwise quiet, honest, and peaceful girl could perform things so incomprehensible. If an investigation had been made to see whether the feat did not occur at the time of her first mensis; if the girl had been watched during her next mensis to determine whether some fresh significant alteration occurred, the police physician might possibly have been able to explain the event. I know many cases of crimes committed by half-grown girls who would under no circumstances have been accused of them; among them arson, lese majeste, the writing of numerous anonymous letters, and a slander by way of complaining of a completely fanciful seduction. In one of these cases we succeeded in showing that the girl in question had committed her crime at the time of her first mensis; that she was otherwise quiet and well conducted, and that she showed at her next mensis some degree of significant unrest and excitement. As soon as the menses got their proper adjustment not one of the earlier phenomena could be observed, and the child exhibited no further inclination to commit crimes.[2]

[1] Cf. Nessel in H. Gross's Archiv. IV, 343

[2] Cf. Kraft-Ebing Psychosis Menstrualis. Stuttgart 1902.

Creatures like her undergo similar danger when they have to make statements about perceptions which are either interesting in themselves, or have occurred in an interesting way. Here caution must be exercised in two directions. First: Discover whether the child in question was passing through her monthly period at the time when she saw the event under discussion, or when she was telling about it. In the former case, she has told of more than could have been perceived; in the second case she develops the delusion that she had seen more than she really had. How unreliable the testimony of youthful girls is, and what mistakes it has caused, are familiar facts, but too little attention is paid to the fact that this unreliability is not permanent with the individuals, and in most cases changes into complete trustworthiness. As a rule, the criminal judge is almost never in a position to determine the inconsistencies in the testimony of a menstruating girl, inasmuch as he sees her, at most, just a few times, and can not at those times observe differences in her love for truth. Fortunately the statements of newly menstruating girls, when untrue, are very characteristic, and present themselves in the form of something essentially romantic, extraordinary, and interesting. If we find this tendency of transforming simple daily events into extraordinary experiences, then, if the testimony of the girl does not agree with that of other witnesses, etc., we are warned. Still greater assurance is easy to gain, by examining persons who know the girl well on her trustworthiness and love of truth before this time. If their statements intensify the suspicion that menses have been an influence, it is not too much to ask directly, to re-examine, and, if necessary, to call in medical aid in order to ascertain the truth. The direct question is in a characteristically great number of cases answered falsely. If in such cases we learn that the observation was made or the testimony given at the menstrual period, we may assume it probably justifiable to suspect great exaggeration, if not pure invention.

The menstrual period tends, at all ages from the youngest child to the full-grown woman, to modify the quality of perception and the truth of description. Von Reichenbach[1a] writes that sensitivity is intensified during the menstrual period, and even if this famous discoverer has said a number of crazy things on the subject, his record is such that he must be regarded as a clever man and an excellent observer. There is no doubt that his sensitive people were simply very nervous individuals who reacted vigorously to all external stimulations, and inasmuch as his views agree with others, we may assume that his observation shows at least how emotional, excitable, and inclined to fine perceptions menstruating women are. It is well- known how sharpened sense-perception becomes under certain conditions of ill-health. Before you get a cold in the head, the sense of smell is regularly intensified; certain headaches are accompanied with an intensification of hearing so that we are disturbed by sounds that otherwise we should not hear at all; every bruised place on the body is very sensitive to touch. All in all, we must believe that the senses of woman, especially her skin sensations, the sensations of touch, are intensified during the menstrual period, for at that time her body is in a "state of alarm.'' This fact is important in many ways. It is not improbable that one menstruating woman shall have heard, seen, felt, and smelt, things which others, and she herself, would not have perceived at another time. Again, if we trace back many a conception of menstruating women we learn that the boundary between more delicate sensating and sensibility can not be easily drawn. Here we may see the universal transition from sensibility to acute excitability which is a source of many quarrels. The witness, the wounded, or accused are all, to a considerable degree, under its influence. It is a generally familiar fact that the incomparably larger number of complaints of attacks on women's honor, fall through. It would be interesting to know just how such complaints of menstruating women occur. Of course, nobody can determine this statistically, but it is a fact that such trials are best conducted, never exactly four weeks after the crime, nor four weeks after the accusation. For if most of the complaints of menstruating women are made at the period of their menses, they are just as excited four weeks later, and opposed to every attempt at adjustment. This is the much-verified fundamental principle! I once succeeded by its use in helping a respectable, peace-loving citizen of a small town, whose wife made uninterrupted complaints of inuriam causa, and got the answer that his wife was an excellent soul, but, "gets the devil in her during her monthlies, and tries to find occasions for quarrels with everybody and finds herself immediately much insulted.''

[1a] Der sensitive Mensch.

A still more suspicious quality than the empty capacity for anger is pointed out by Lombroso,[1] who says that woman during menstruation is inclined to anger and to falsification. In this regard Lombroso may be correct, inasmuch as the lie may be combined with the other qualities here observed. We often note that most honorable women lie in the most shameless fashion. If we find no other motive and we know that the woman periodically gets into an abnormal condition, we are at least justified in the presupposition that the two are coordinate, and that the periodic condition is cause of the otherwise rare feminine lie. Here also, we are required to be cautious, and if we hear significant and not otherwise confirmed assertions from women, we must bear in mind that they may be due to menstruation.

[1] C. Lombroso and G. Ferrero. The Female Offender.

But we may go still further. Du Saulle[1] asserts on the basis of far-reaching investigations, that a significant number of thefts in Parisian shops are committed frequently by the most elegant ladies during their menstrual period, and this in no fewer than 35 cases out of 36, while 10 more cases occurred at the beginning of the period.

[1] La Folie devant les Tribunaux Paris 1864. Trait de Medicine Lgale. Paris 1873.

Other authorities[2] who have studied this matter have shown how the presentation of objects women much desire leads to theft. Grant that during her mensis the woman is in a more excitable and less actively resisting condition, and it may follow she might be easily overpowered by the seductive quality of pretty jewelry and other knickknacks. This possibility leads us, however, to remoter conclusions. Women desire more than merely pretty things, and are less able to resist their desires during their periods. If they are less able to resist in such things, they are equally less able to resist in other things. In handling those thefts which were formerly called kleptomaniac, and which, in spite of the refusal to use this term, are undeniable, it is customary, if they recur repeatedly, to see whether pregnancy is not the cause. It is well to consider also the influence of menstruation.

[2] Les Voleuses des Grands Magazins. Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle XVI, 1, 341 (1901).

Menstruation may bring women even to the most terrible crimes. Various authors cite numerous examples in which otherwise sensible women have been driven to the most inconceivable things—in many cases to murder. Certainly such crimes will be much more numerous if the abnormal tendency is unknown to the friends of the woman, who should watch her carefully during this short, dangerous period.

The fact is familiar that the disturbances of menstruation lead to abnormal psychoses. This type of mental disease develops so quietly that in numerous cases the maladies are overlooked, and hence it is more easily possible, since they are transitive, to interpret them commonly as "nervous excitement,'' or to pay no attention to them, although they need it.[1]

[1] A. Schwob: Les Psychoses Menstruelles au Point du Vue Medico-legal. Lyon, 1895.

Section 67. (c) Pregnancy.

We may speak of the conditions and effects of pregnancy very briefly. The doubt of pregnancy will be much less frequent than that of menstruation, for the powerful influence of pregnancy on the psychic life of woman is well-known, and it is hence the more important to call in the physician in cases of crimes committed by pregnant women, or in cases of important testimony to be given by such women. But, indeed, the frequently obvious remarkable desires, the significant conduct, and the extraordinary, often cruel, impulses, which influence pregnant women, and for the appearance of which the physician is to be called in, are not the only thing. The most difficult and most far-reaching conditions of pregnancy are the purely psychical ones which manifest themselves in the sometimes slight, sometimes more obvious alterations in the woman's point of view and capacity for producing an event. In themselves they seem of little importance, but they occasion such a change in the attitude of an individual toward a happening which she must describe to the judge, that the change may cause a change in the judgment. I repeat here also, that it may be theoretically said, "The witness must tell us facts, and only facts,'' but this is not really so. Quite apart from the fact that the statement of any perception contains a judgment, it depends also and always on the point of view, and this varies with the emotional state. If, then, we have never experienced any of the emotional alteration to which a pregnant woman is subject, we must be able to interpret it logically in order to hit on the correct thing. We set aside the altered somatic conditions of the mother, the disturbance of the conditions of nutrition and circulation; we need clearly to understand what it means to have assumed care about a developing creature, to know that a future life is growing up fortunately or unfortunately, and is capable of bringing joy or sorrow, weal or woe to its parents. The woman knows that her condition is an endangerment of her own life, that it brings at least pains, sufferings, and difficulties (as a rule, overestimated by the pregnant woman). Involuntarily she feels, whether she be educated or uneducated, the secrecy, the elusiveness of the growing life she bears, the life which is to come out into the world, and to bring its mother's into jeopardy thereby. She feels nearer death, and the various tendencies which are attached to this feeling are determined by the nature and the conditions of each particular future mother's sensations. How different may be the feeling of a poor abandoned bride who is expecting a child, from that of a young woman who knows that she is to bring into the world the eagerly-desired heir of name and fortune. Consider the difference between the feeling of a sickly proletarian, richly blessed with children, who knows that the new child is an unwelcome superfluity whose birth may perhaps rob the other helpless children of their mother, with the feeling of a comfortable, thoroughly healthy woman, who finds no difference between having three or having four children.

And if these feelings are various, must they not be so intense and so far-reaching as to influence the attitude of the woman toward some event she has observed? It may be objected that the subjective attitude of a witness will never influence a judge, who can easily discover the objective truth in the one-sided observation of an event. But let us not deceive ourselves, let us take things as they are. Subjective attitude may become objective falsehood in spite of the best endeavor of the witness, and the examiner may fail altogether to distinguish between what is truth and what poetry. Further, in many instances the witness must be questioned with regard to the impression the event made on her. Particularly, if the event can not be described in words.

We must ask whether the witness's impression was that an attack was dangerous, a threat serious, a blackmail conceivable, a brawl intentional, a gesture insulting, an assault premeditated. In these, and thousands of other cases, we must know the point of view, and are compelled to draw our deductions from it. And finally, who of us believes himself to be altogether immune to emotional induction? The witness describes us the event in definite tones which are echoed to us. If there are other witnesses the incomplete view may be corrected, but if there is only one witness, or one whom for some reason we believe more than others, or if there are several, but equally- trusted witnesses, the condition, view-point, and "fact,'' remain inadequate in us. Whoever has before him a pregnant woman with her impressions altered in a thousand ways, may therefore well be "up in the air!''[1]

[1] Neumann: Einfluss der Sehwangerschaft. Siebold's Journal f. Geburtshilfe. Vol. II. Hoffbauer: Die Gelste der Schwangeren. Archiv f. Kriminalrecht. Vol. I. 1817.

The older literature which develops an elaborate casuistic concerning cases in which pregnant women exhibited especial desires, or abnormal changes in their perceptions and expressions, is in many directions of considerable importance. We must, however, remember that the old observations are rarely exact and were always made with less knowledge than we nowadays possess.

Section 68. (d) Erotic.

A question which is as frequent as it is idle, concerns the degree of sexual impulse in woman. It is important for the lawyer to know something about this, of course, for many a sexual crime may be more properly judged if it is known how far the woman encouraged the man; and in similar cases the knowledge might help us to presume what attitude feminine witnesses might take toward the matter. First of all, the needs of individual women are as different as those of individual men, and as varied as the need for food, drink, warmth, rest, and a hundred other animal requirements. We shall be unable to find any standard by determining even an average. It is useless to say that sexual sensibility is less in woman than in man; because specialists contradict each other on this matter. We are not aided either by Sergi's[2] assertion, that the sensibility is less than the irritability in woman, or by Mantegazza's statement, that women rarely have such powerful sexual desire that it causes them pain. We can learn here, also, only by means of the interpretation of good particular observations. When, for example, the Italian positivists repeatedly assert that woman is less erotic and more sexual, they mean that man cares more about the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, woman about the maternal instinct. This piece of information may help us to explain some cases; at least we shall understand many a girl's mistake without needing immediately to presuppose rape, seduction by means of promises of marriage, etc. Once we have in mind soberly what fruits dishonor brings to a girl,—scorn and shame, the difficulties of pregnancy, alienation from relatives, perhaps even banish- ment from the paternal home, perhaps the loss of a good position, then the pains and sorrows of child-birth, care of the child, reduction of earnings, difficulties and troubles with the child, difficulties in going about, less prospect of care through wedlock,— these are of such extraordinary weight, that it is impossible to adduce so elementary a force to the sexual impulse as to enable it to veil the outlook upon this outcome of its satisfaction.

[2] Archivio di Psichiatria. 1892. Vol. XIII.

The well-known Viennese gynaecologist, Braun, said, "If it were naturally so arranged that in every wedlock man must bear the second child, there would be no more than three children in any family.'' His intention is, that even if the woman agrees to have the third child, the man would be so frightened at the pains of the first child-birth that he never again would permit himself to bear another. As we can hardly say that we have any reason for asserting that the sexual needs of woman are essentially greater, or that woman is better able to bear more pain than man, we are compelled to believe that there must be in woman an impulse lacking in man. This impulse must be supposed to be so powerful that it subdues, let us say briefly, all the fear of an illegitimate or otherwise undesirable child-birth, and this is the impulse we mean by sexuality, by the maternal instinct.

It would seem as if nature, at least in isolated cases, desires to confirm this view. According to Icard there are women who have children simply for the pleasure of suckling them, the suckling being a pleasant sensation. If, now, nature has produced a sexual impulse purely for the sake of preserving the species, she has given fuller expression to sexuality and the maternal instinct when she has endowed it with an especial impulse in at least a few definite cases. This impulse will explain to the criminalist a large number of phenomena, especially the accommodation of woman to man's desires; and from this along he may deduce a number of otherwise difficultly explainable psychical phenomena.

There is, of course, a series of facts which deny the existence of this impulse—but they only seem to. Child-murder, the very frequent cruelty of mothers to their children, the opposition of very young women to bearing and bringing up children (cf. the educated among French and American women), and similar phenomena seem to speak against the maternal instinct. We must not forget, however, that all impulses come to an end where the opposed impulse becomes stronger, and that under given circumstances even the most powerful impulse, that of self-preservation, may be opposed. All actions of despair, tearing the beard, beating hands and feet together, rage at one's own health, and finally suicide may ensue. If the mother kills her own child, this action belongs to the same series as self-damage through despair. The more orderly and numerous actions and feelings in this direction, e. g., the disinclination of women toward bearing children, may be explained also by the fact that it is the consequence of definite conditions of civilization. If we recall what unnatural, senseless, and half crazy habits with regard to nutrition, dressing, social adjustments, etc., civilization and fashion have forced upon us, we do not need to adduce real perversity in order to understand how desire for comfort, how laziness and the scramble for wealth lead to suppression of the maternal instinct. This may also be called degeneration. There are still other less important circumstances that seem to speak against the maternal instinct. These consist primarily in the fact that the sexual impulse endures to a time when the mother is no longer young enough to bear a child. We know that the first gray hair in no sense indicates the last lover, and according to Tait, a period of powerful sex-impulsion ensues directly after the climacterium. Now of what use, so far as child-birth is concerned, can such an impulse be?

But because natural instincts endure beyond their period of purposive efficiency, it does not follow that they are unconnected with that efficiency; we eat and drink also when the food is superfluous as nourishment. Wonderfully as nature has adjusted the instincts and functions to definite purposes, she still has at no point drawn fixed boundaries and actually destroyed her instrument where the need for it ceased. Just because nature is elsewhere parsimonious, she seems frequently extravagant; yet that extravagance is the cheapest means of attaining the necessary end. Thus, when woman's passion is no longer required for the function of motherhood, its impulsion may yet be counted on for the psychological explanation of more than one criminal event.

What is important, is to count the maternal instinct as a factor in criminal situations. If we have done so, we find explanations not only of sexual impropriety, but of the more subtle questions of the more or less pure relation between husband and wife. What attitude the woman takes toward her husband and children, what she demands of them, what she sacrifices for them, what makes it possible for her to endure an apparently unendurable situation; what, again, undermines directly and suddenly, in spite of seemingly small value, her courage in life;—these are all conditions which appear in countless processes as the distinguishing and explaining elements, and they are to be understood in the single term, "maternal instinct.'' For a long time the inexplicability of love and sexual impulse were offered as excuses, but these otherwise mighty factors had to be assigned such remarkable and self-contradictory aspects that only one confusion was added to another and called explanation. Now suppose we try to explain them by means of the maternal instinct.

Section 69. (e) Submerged Sexual Factors.

The criminal psychologist finds difficulties where hidden impulses are at work without seeming to have any relation to their results. In such cases the starting-point for explanation is sought in the wrong direction. I say starting-point, because "motive'' must be conscious, and "ground'' might be misunderstood. We know of countless criminal cases which we face powerless because we do indeed know the criminal but are unable to explain the causal connection between him and the crime, or because, again, we do not know the criminal, and judge from the facts that we might have gotten a clew if we had understood the psychological development of the crime. If we seek for "grounds,'' we may possibly think of so many of them as never to approach the right one; if we seek motives, we may be far misled because we are able only to bring the criminal into connection with his success, a matter which he must have had in mind from the beginning. It is ever easy for us when motive and crime are in open connection: greed, theft; revenge, arson; jealousy, murder; etc. In these cases the whole business of examination is an example in arithmetic, possibly difficult, but fundamental. When, however, from the deed to its last traceable grounds, even to the attitude of the criminal, a connected series may be discovered and yet no explanation is forthcoming, then the business of interpretation has reached its end; we begin to feel about in the dark. If we find nothing, the situation is comparatively good, but it is exceedingly bad in the numerous cases in which we believe ourselves to have sighted and pursued the proper solution.

Such a hidden source or starting-point of very numerous crimes is sex. That it often works invisibly is due to the sense of shame. Therefore it is more frequent in women. The hidden sexual starting- point plays its part in the little insignificant lie of an unimportant woman witness, as well as in the poisoning of a husband for the sake of a paramour still to be won. It sails everywhere under a false flag; nobody permits the passion to show in itself; it must receive another name, even in the mind of the woman whom it dominates.

The first of the forms which the sexual impulse takes is false piety, religiosity. This is something ancient. Friedreich points to the connection between religious activity and the sexual organization, and cites many stories about saints, like that of the nun Blanbekin, of whom it was said, "eam scire desiderasse cum lacrimis, et moerore maximo, ubinam esset praeputium Christi.'' The holy Veronica Juliani, in memory of the lamb of God, took a lamb to bed with her and nursed it at her breast. Similarly suggestive things are told of St. Catherine of Genoa, of St. Armela, of St. Elizabeth, of the Child Jesus, etc. Reinhard says correctly that sweet memories are frequently nothing more or less than outbursts of hidden passion and attacks of sensual love. Seume is mistaken in his assertion that mysticism lies mainly in weakness of the nerves and colic—it lies a span deeper.

The use of this fact is simple. We must discover whether a woman is morally pure or sensual, etc. This is important, not only in violations of morality, but in every violation of law. The answers we receive to questions on this matter are almost without exception worthless or untrue, because the object of the question is not open to view, is difficult to observe, and is kept hidden from even the nearest. Our purpose is, therefore, best attained by directing the question to religious activity, religiosity, and similar traits. These are not only easy to perceive, but are openly exhibited because of their nature. Whoever assumes piety, does so for the sake of other people, therefore does not hide it. If religious extravagance can be reliably confirmed by witnesses, it will rarely be a mistake to assume inclination to more or less stifled sexual pleasure.

Examples of the relationship are known to every one of us, but I want to cite two out of my own experience as types. In one of them the question turned on the fact that a somewhat old, unmarried woman had appropriated certain rather large trust sums and had presented them to her servant. At first every suspicion of the influence of sex was set aside. Only the discovery of the fact that in her ostentatious piety she had set up an altar in her house, and compelled her servant to pray at it in her company, called attention to the deep interest of this very moral maiden in her servant.

The second case dealt with the poisoning of an old, impotent husband by his young wife. The latter was not suspected by anybody, but at her examination drew suspicion to herself by her unctuous, pious appearance. She was permitted to express herself at length on religious themes and showed so very great a love of saints and religious secrets that it was impossible to doubt that a glowing sensuality must be concealed underneath this religious ash. Adultery could not be proved, she must have for one reason or another avoided it, and that her impotent husband was unsatisfactory was now indubitable. The supposition that she wanted to get rid of him in order to marry somebody else was now inevitable; and as this somebody else was looked for and discovered, the adduction of evidence of her guilt was no longer difficult.

How captious it is to prove direct passion and to attach reasonable suspicion thereto, and how necessary it is, first of all, to establish what the concealing material is, is shown in a remark of Kraus,[1] who asserts that the wife never affects to be passionate with her husband; her desire is to seduce him and she could not desire that if she were not passionate. This assertion is only correct in general. It is not, however, true that woman has no reason for affectation, for there are enough cases in which some woman, rendered with child by a poor man, desires to seduce a man of wealth in order to get a wealthy father for her child. In such and similar cases, the woman could make use of every trick of seduction without needing to be in the least passionately disposed.

[1] A. Kraus: Die Psychologie des Verbrechens. Tbingen 1884.

Another important form of submerged sexuality is ennui. Nobody can say what ennui is, and everybody knows it most accurately. Nobody would say that it is burdensome, and yet everybody knows, again, that a large group of evil deeds spring from ennui. It is not the same as idleness; I may be idle without being bored, and I may be bored although I am busy. At best, boredom may be called an attitude which the mind is thrown into because of an unsatisfied desire for different things. We speak of a tedious region, a tedious lecture, and tedious company only by way of metonymy—we always mean the emotional state they put us into. The internal condition is determinative, for things that are boresome to one may be very interesting to another. A collection, a library, a lecture, are all tedious and boresome by transposition of the emotional state to the objective content, and in this way the ides of boredom gets a wide scope. We, however, shall speak of boredom as an emotional state. We find it most frequently among girls, young women, and among undeveloped or feminine men as a very significant phenomenon. So found, it is that particular dreamful, happy, or unhappy attitude expressed in desire for something absent, in quiet reproaches concerning the lack of the satisfaction of that desire, with the continually recurring wish for filling out an inner void. The basis of all this is mainly sex. It can not be proved as such mathematically, but experience shows that the emotional attitude occurs only in the presence of sexual energy, that it is lacking when the desires are satisfied, but that otherwise, even the richest and best substitution can offer no satisfaction. It is not daring, therefore, to infer the erotic starting-point. Again we see how the moralizing and training influence of rigidly-required work suppresses all superfluous states which themselves make express demands and might want complete satisfaction.

But everything has its limits, and frequently the gentle, still power of sweet ennui is stronger than the pressure and compulsion of work. When this power is present, it never results in good, rarely in anything indifferent, and frequently forbidden fruit ripens slowly in its shadow. Nobody will assert that ennui is the cause of illicit relations, of seduction, of adultery and all the many sins that depend on it—from petty misappropriations for the sake of the beloved, to the murder of the unloved husband. But ennui is for the criminal psychologist a sign that the woman was unsatisfied with what she had and wanted something else. From wishing to willing, from willing to asking, is not such a great distance. But if we ask the repentant sinner when she began to think of her criminal action we always learn that she suffered from incurable ennui, in which wicked thoughts came and still more wicked plans were hatched. Any experienced criminal psychologist will tell you, when you ask him, whether he has been much subject to mistakes in trying to explain women's crimes from the starting-point of their ennui. The neighborhood knows of the periods of this ennui, and the sinner thinks that they are almost discovered if she is asked about them. Cherchez la femme, cherchez l'amour; cherchez l'ennui; and hundreds of times you find the solution.

Conceit, too, may be caused by hidden sexuality. We need only to use the word denotatively, for when we speak of the conceit of a scholar, an official, or a soldier, we mean properly the desire for fame, the activity of getting oneself praised and recognized. Conceit proper is only womanish or a property of feminine men, and just as, according to Darwin, the coloration of birds, insects, and even plants serves only the purposes of sexual selection and has, therefore, sexual grounds, so also the conceit of woman has only sexual purpose. She is conceited for men alone even though through the medium of other women. As Lotze wrote in his "Mikrokosmus,'' "Everything that calls attention to her person without doing her any harm is instinctively used by women as a means in sexual conflict.'' There is much truth in the terms "means'' and "sexual conflict.'' The man takes the battle up directly, and if we deal with this subject without frills we may not deny that animals behave just as men do. The males battle directly with each other for the sake of the females, who are compelled to study how to arouse this struggle for their person, and thus hit upon the use of conceit in sexual conflict. That women are conceited does not much matter to us criminal psychologists; we know it and do not need to be told. But the forms in which their conceit expresses itself are important; its consequences and its relation to other conditions are important.

To make use of feminine conceit in the court-room is not an art but an unpermissible trick which might lead too far. Whoever wants to succeed with women, as Madame de Rieux says, "must bring their self-love into play.'' And St. Prospre: "Women are to be sought not through their senses—their weakness is in their heart and conceit.'' These properties are, however, so powerful that they may easily lead to deception. If the judge does not understand how to follow this prescription it does no good, but if he does understand it he has a weapon with which woman may be driven too far, and then wounded pride, anger, and even suggestion work in far too vigorous a manner. For example, a woman wants to defend her lover before the judge. Now, if the latter succeeds by the demonstration of natural true facts in wounding her conceit, in convincing her that she is betrayed, harmed, or forgotten by her protected lover, or if she is merely made to believe this, she goes, in most cases, farther than she can excuse, and accuses and harms him as much as possible; tries, if she is able, to destroy him—whether rightly or wrongly she does not care. She has lost her lover and nobody else shall have him. "Feminine conceit,'' says Lombroso, "explains itself especially in the fact that the most important thing in the life of woman is the struggle for men.'' This assertion is strengthened by a long series of examples and historical considerations and can serve as a guiding thread in many labyrinthine cases. First of all, it is important to know in many trials whether a woman has already taken up this struggle for men, i. e., whether she has a lover, or wishes to have a lover. If it can be shown that she has suddenly become conceited, or her conceit has been really intensified, the question has an unconditionally affirmative answer. Frequently enough one may succeed even in determining the particular man, by ascertaining with certainty the time at which this conceit first began, and whether it had closer or more distant reference to some man. If these conditions, once discovered, are otherwise at all confirmed, and there are no mistakes in observation, the inference is inevitably certain.

We learn much concerning feminine conceit when we ask how a man could have altered the inclination of a woman whose equal he in no sense was. It is not necessary in such cases to fuss about the insoluble riddle of the female heart and about the ever-dark secrets of the feminine soul. Vulpes vult fraudem, lupus agnum, femina laudem—this illuminates every profundity. The man in question knew how to make use of laudem—he knew how to excite feminine conceit, and so vanquished others who were worth much more than he.

This goes so far that by knowing the degree of feminine conceit we know also the vivacity of feminine sexuality, and the latter is criminologically important. Heinroth[1] says, "The feminine individual, so long as it has demands to make, or believes itself to have them, has utmost self-confidence. Conceit is the sexual characteristic.'' And we may add, "and the standard of sexuality.'' As soon as the child has the first ribbon woven into its hair, sexuality has been excited. It increases with the love of tinsel and glitter and dies when the aging female begins to neglect herself and to go about unwashed. Woman lies when she asserts that everything is dead in her heart, and sits before you neatly and decoratively dressed; she lies when she says that she still loves her husband, and at the same time shows considerable carelessness about her body and clothes; she lies when she assures you that she has always been the same and her conceit has come or gone. These statements constitute unexceptionable rules. The use of them involves no possible error.

[1] Lehrbuch des Anthropologie. Leipzig 1822.

We have now the opportunity to understand what feminine knowledge is worth and in what degree it is reliable. This is no place to discuss the capacity of the feminine brain, and to venture into the dangerous field which Schopenhauer and his disciples and modern anthropologists have entered merely to quarrel in. The judge's business is the concrete case in which he must test the ex- pressions of a woman when they depend upon real or apparent knowledge, either just as he must test the testimony of any other witness, or by means of experts. We shall therefore indicate only the symptomatic value of feminine knowledge with regard to feminine conceit. According to Lotze, women go to theater and to church only to show their clothes and to appear artistic and pious; while M. d'Arconville says, that women learn only that it may be said of them, "They are scholars,'' but for knowledge they care not at all.

This is important because we are likely, with regard to knowledge in the deepest sense of the word, to be frequently unjust to women. We are accustomed to suppose that the accumulation of some form of knowledge must have some definite, hence causally related, connection with purpose. We ask why the scholar is interested in his subject, why he has sought this knowledge? And in most cases we find the right reason when we have found the logical connection and have sought it logically. This might have explained difficult cases, but not where the knowledge of women is concerned. Women are interested in art, literature, and science, mainly out of conceit, but they care also for hundreds of other little things in order, by the knowledge of them, to show off as scholars. Conceit and curiosity are closely related. Women therefore often attain information that might cause them to be listed as suspects if it could not be harmlessly explained by conceit. Conceit, however, has itself to be explained by the struggle for men, because woman knows instinctively that she can use knowledge in this struggle. And this struggle for the other sex frequently betrays woman's own crime, or the crime of others. Somebody said that Eve's first thought after eating the apple was: "How does my fig-leaf fit?'' It is a tasteful notion, that Eve, who needed only to please her Adam, thought only of this after all the sorrow of the first sin! But it is true, and we may imagine Eve's state of mind to be as follows: "Shall I now please him more or less?'' It is characteristic that the question about dress is said to have been the *first question. It shows the power of conceit, the swiftness with which it presses to the front. Indeed, of all crimes against property half would have remained undiscovered if the criminals had been self-controlled enough to keep their unjustly acquired gains dark for a while. That they have not, constitutes the hope of every judge for the discovery of the criminal, and the hope is greater with the extent of the theft. It may be assumed that the criminal exhibits the fruits of his crime, but that it is difficult to discover when there is not much of it. This general rule is much more efficacious among women than among men, for which reason a criminalist who suspects some person thinks rather of arresting this person's wife or mistress than himself. When the apprentice steals something from his master, his girl gets a new shawl, and that is not kept in the chest but immediately decorates the shoulders of the girl. Indeed, women of the profoundest culture can not wait a moment to decorate themselves with their new gauds, and we hear that gypsies, who have been caught in some fresh crime, are betrayed mainly by the fact that the women who had watched the house to be robbed had been trying on bits of clothing while the men were still inside cleaning the place up. What was most important for the women was to meet the men already decorated anew when the men would finally come back.

The old maid is, from the sexual standpoint, legally important because she is in herself rather different from other women, and hence must be differently understood. The properties assigned to these very pitiful creatures are well-known. Many of the almost exclusively unpleasant peculiarities assigned to them they may be said really to possess. The old maid has failed in her natural function and thus exhibits all that is implied in this accident; bitterness, envy, unpleasantness, hard judgment of others' qualities and deeds, difficulty in forming new relationships, exaggerated fear and prudery, the latter mainly as simulation of innocence. It is a well-known fact that every experienced judge may confirm that old maids (we mean here, always, childless, unmarried women of considerable age— not maids in the anatomical sense) as witnesses, always bring something new. If you have heard ten mutually-corroborating statements and the eleventh is made by an old maid, it will be different. The latter, according to her nature, has observed differently, introduces a collection of doubts and suggestions, introduces nasty implications into harmless things, and if possible, connects her own self with the matter. This is as significant as explicable. The poor creature has not gotten much good out of life, has never had a male protector, was frequently enough defenseless against scorn and teasing, the amenities of social life and friendship were rarely her portion. It is, therefore, almost inevitable that she should see evil everywhere. If she has observed some quarrel from her window she will testify that the thing was provoked in order to disturb her; if a coachman has run over a child, she suggests that he had been driving at her in order to frighten her; the thief who broke into her neighbor's house really wanted to break into hers because she is without protection and therefore open to all attacks, so that it is conceivable that he should want to hurt her. As a rule there will be other witnesses, or the old maid will be so energetic in her testimonies that her "perceptions'' will not do much damage, but it is always wise to be cautious.

Of course, there are exceptions, and it is well-known that exceptions occur by way of extreme contrast. If an old maid does not possess the unpleasant characteristics of her breed, she is extraordinarily kind and lovable, in such a way generally, that her all too mild and rather blind conceptions of an event make her a dangerous witness. It is also true that old maids frequently are better educated and more civilized than other women, as De Quincey shows. They are so because, without the care of husband and children, they have time for all kinds of excellences, especially when they are inclined thereto. It is notable that the founders of women's charitable societies are generally old maids or childless widows, who have not had the joys and tasks of motherhood. We must take care, therefore, in judging the kindness of a woman, against being blinded by her philanthropic activity. That may be kindness, but as a rule it may have its source in the lack of occupation, and in striving for some form of motherhood. In judging old maids we deceive ourselves still more easily because, as Darwin keenly noted, they always have some masculine quality in their external appearance as well as in their activity and feeling. Now that kind of woman is generally strange to us. We start wrong when we judge her by customary standards and miss the point when, in the cases of such old maids, we presuppose only feminine qualities and overlook the very virile additions. We may add to these qualities the intrinsic productivity of old maids. Benneke, in his "Pragmatische Psychologie,'' compares the activity of a very busy housewife with that of an unmarried virgin, and thinks the worth of the former to be higher, while the latter accomplishes more by way of "erotic fancies, intrigues, inheritances, winnings in the lottery, and hypochondriac complaints.'' This is very instructive from the criminological point of view. For the criminalist can not be too cautious when he has an old maid to examine. Therefore, when a case occurs containing characteristic intrigues, fanciful inheritances, and winnings in the lottery, it will be well to seek out the old maid behind these things. She may considerably help the explanation.

Both professional and popular judgment agree that the largest majority of women have great fear of becoming old maids. We are told how this fear expresses itself in foreign countries. In Spain e. g., it is said that a Spanish woman who has passed her first bloom takes the first available candidate for her hand in order to avoid old-maidenhood; and in Russia every mature girl who is able to do so, goes abroad for a couple of years in order to return as "widow.'' Everybody knows the event, nobody asks for particulars about it. Some such process is universal, and many an unfortunate marriage and allied crime may be explained by it. Girls who at seventeen or eighteen were very particular and had a right to be, are modest at twenty, and at twenty-six marry at any price, in order not to remain old maids. That this is not love-marriage and is often contrary to intelligence, is clear, and when neither heart nor head rule, the devil laughs, and it is out of such marriages that adultery, the flight of the wife, cruelty, robbery from the spouse, and worse things, arise. Therefore it will be worth while to study the history of the marriage in question. Was it a marriage in the name of God, i. e., the marriage of an old maid? Then double caution must be used in the study of the case.

There is some advantage in knowing the popular conception of *when a girl becomes an old maid, for old-maidenhood is a matter of a point of view; it depends on the opinion of other people. Belles- lettres deals considerably with this question, for it can itself determine the popular attitude to the unmarried state. So Brandes discovers that the heroines of classical novelists, of Racine, Shakespeare, Moliere, Voltaire, Ariosto, Byron, Lesage, Scott, are almost always sixteen years of age. In modern times, women in novels have their great love-adventure in the thirties. How this advance in years took place we need not bother to find out, but that it has occurred, we must keep in mind.

Before concluding the chapter on sexual conditions, we must say a word about hysteria, which so very frequently has deceived the judge. Hysteria was named by the ancients, as is known, from , the womb,—and properly—for most of the causes of evil are there hidden. The hysterics are legally significant in various ways. Their fixed ideas often cause elaborate unreasonable explanations; they want to attract attention, they are always concerned with themselves, are always wildly enthusiastic about somebody else; often they persecute others with unwarranted hatred and they are the source of the coarsest denunciations, particularly with regard to sexual crimes. Incidentally, most of them are smart and have a diseased acuity of the senses. Hearing and smell in particular, are sometimes remarkably alert, although not always reliable, for hysterics frequently discover more than is there. On the other hand, they often are useful because of their delicate senses, and it is never necessary to show the correctness of their perception out of hand. Bianchi rightly calls attention to the fact, that hysterics like to write anonymous letters. Writers of these are generally women, and mainly hysterical women; if a man writes them, he is indubitably feminine in nature.

Most difficulties with hysterics occur when they suffer some damage,[1] for they not only add a number of dishonest phenomena, but also actually feel them. I might recall by way of example Domrich's story, that hysterics regularly get cramps laughing, when their feet get cold. If this is true it is easy to conceive what else may happen.

[1] Cf. H. Gross's Archiv. VI, 334.

All this, clearly, is a matter for the court physician, who alone should be the proper authority when a hysteric is before the court. We lawyers have only to know what significant dangers hysterics threaten, and further, that the physician is to be called whenever one of them is before us. Unfortunately there are no specific symptoms of hysteria which the layman can make use of. We must be satisfied with the little that has just been mentioned. Hysteria, I had almost said *fortunately, is nowadays so widespread that everybody has some approximate knowledge of how it affects its victims.

(4) Particular Feminine Qualities.

Section 70. (a) Intelligence.

Feminine intelligence properly deserves a separate section. Intelligence is a function that has in both sexes some basis and purpose and proceeds according to the same rules, but the meaning of intelligence must be abandoned if we are to suppose it so rigid and so difficult to hold, that the age-long differences between man and woman could have had no influence on it. The fundamentally distinct bodies, the very different occupations of both sexes, their different destinies, must have had profound mutative influence on their intelligence. Moreover, we must always start with a difference of attitude in the two sexes, in which the purely positive belongs to one only, and we must see whether it is not intensified by the negative of the other. When one body presses on another the resulting impression is due, not only to the hardness of the first, but also to the softness of the second, and when we hear about the extraordinary wit of a woman we must blame the considerable idiocy of the men she associates with. How many women are to be trusted for intelligence, is a question of great importance for the criminalist, inasmuch as right judgment depends on the attitude and good sense of the witnesses, and must determine the value of the material presented us.

We wish to make no detailed sub-divisions in what follows. We shall merely consider in their general aspects those functions which we are accustomed to find in our own work.

Section 71. I. Conception.

Concerning feminine sense-perception we have already spoken. There is no significant difference between the two sexes, although in conceptual power we find differences very distinct.

It may be generally said, as the daily life shows, that women conceive differently from men. Whatever a dozen men may agree on conceptually, will be differently thought of by any one woman. Now what is significant in this fact is, that generally the woman is correct, that she has a better conception,—and still under the same circumstances we continue to conceive in the same way, even for the tenth time. This fact demonstrates that a different form of organization, i. e., an essential difference in nature, determines the character of conception in the two sexes. If we compare values, the result will be different according to sex, even with regard to the very material compared, or to the manner in which it has been discovered. In the apprehension of situations, the perception of attitudes, the judgment of people in certain relations, in all that is called tact, i. e., in all that involves some abstraction or clarification of confused and twisted material, and finally, in all that involves human volitions, women are superior, and more reliable individually, then ten men together. But the manner in which the woman obtains her conception is less valuable, being the manner of pure instinct. Or suppose that we call it more delicate feeling—the name does not matter—the process is mainly unconscious, and is hence of less value only, if I may say so, as requiring less thought. In consequence, there is not only not a decrease in the utility of feminine testimony; also its reliability is very great. There may be hundreds of errors in the dialectical procedure of a man, while there is much more certainty in the instinctive conception and the direct reproduction of a woman. Hence, her statements are more reliable.

We need not call the source of this instinct God's restitution for feminine deficiency in other matters; we can show that it is due to natural selection, and that the position and task of woman requires her to observe her environment very closely. This need sharpened the inner sense until it became unconscious conception. Feminine interest in the environment is what gives female intuition a swiftness and certainty unattainable in the meditations of the profoundest philosophers. The swiftness of the intuition, which excludes all reflection, and which merely solves problems, is the important thing. Woman perceives clearly, as Spencer says somewhere, the mental status of her personal environment; while Schopenhauer has incorrectly suggested that women differ from men intellectually because they are lazy and want short-cuts to attain their purpose. In point of fact, they do not want short-cuts—they simply avoid complicated inference and depend upon intuition, as they very safely may. Vision is possible only where perception is possible, i. e., when things are near. The distant and the veiled can not be seen, but must be inferred; hence, women let inference alone and do what they can do better. This suggests the value of these different interpretations of the feminine mode of conception. As lawyers we may believe women where intuition is involved; where inference is a factor we must be very careful. Sensory conception is to be understood in the same way as intellectual conception. According to Mantegazza,[1] woman has a particularly good eye for the delicate aspects of things but has no capacity for seeing things on the horizon. A remote, big object does not much excite her interest. This is explained by the supposed fact that women as a rule can not see so far as men, and are unable to distinguish the distant object so well. This is no explanation because it would be as valid of all short-sighted people. The truth is, that the definition of distant objects requires more or less reason and inference. Woman does not reason and infer, and if things miss her intuition, they do not exist for her.

[1] Mantegazza: Fisiologia del piacere.

Objectivity is another property that women lack. They tend always to think in personalities, and they conceive objects in terms of personal sympathies. Tell a woman about a case so that her interest will be excited without your naming the individuals save as A and B, and it will be impossible to get her to take a stand or to make a judgment. Who are the people, what are they, how old are they, etc.? These questions must be answered first. Hence the divergent feminine conceptions of a case before and after the names are discovered. The personalizing tendency results in some extraordinary things. Suppose a woman is describing a brawl between two persons, or two groups. If the sides were equally matched in strength and weapons, and if the witness in question did not know any of the fighters before, she will nevertheless redistribute sun and wind in her description if one of the brawlers happens accidentally to have interested her, or has behaved in a "knightly'' fashion, though under other circumstances he might have earned only her dislike. In such cases the fairy tale about telling mere facts recurs, and I have to repeat that nobody tells mere facts—that judgment and inference always enter into statements and that women use them more than men. Of course real facts and inferred ones can be distinguished,—infrequently however, and never with certainty. It is best, therefore, to determine whether the witness bears any relation to one of the parties, and what it is. And this relation will be an element in most cases inasmuch as one rarely is present at a quarrel without some share in it. But even if the latter case should occur, it is necessary, first of all, to hear every detail so as to get the woman's attitude clearly in mind. The evidence of the woman's mode of conception is of more importance than the evidence concerning the fact itself. And finding the former is easy enough if the woman is for a short time allowed to speak generally. When her attitude is known, the standard for adjusting her excuses of one and accusations of another, is easily discovered.

The same is true in purely individual cases. In the eyes of woman the same crime committed by one man is black as hell; committed by another, it is in all respects excusable. All that is necessary for this attitude is the play of sympathies and antipathies generated from whatever source. Just as the woman reader of romances favors one hero and hates another, so the woman witness behaves toward her figures. And it may happen that she finds one of them to have murdered with such "exciting excellence,'' and the victim to have been "such a boresome Philistine,'' that she excuses the crime. Caution is here the most necessary thing. Of course women are not alone in taking such attitudes, but they are never so clear, so typical, nor so determined as when taken by women.

Section 72. 2. Judgment.

Avenarius tells of an English couple who were speaking about angels' wings. It was the man's opinion that this angelic possession was doubtful, the woman's that it could not be. Many a woman witness has reminded me of this story, and I have been able to explain by use of it many an event. Woman says, "that must be'' when she knows of no reason; "that must be'' when her own arguments bore her; "that must be'' when she is confused; when she does not understand the evidence of her opponent, and particularly when she desires something. Unfortunately, she hides this attitude under many words, and one often wishes for the simple assertion of the English woman, "that must be.'' In consequence, when we want to learn their ratio sciendi from women, we get into difficulties. They offer us a collection of frequently astonishing and important things, but when we ask for the source of this collection we get "that must be,'' in variations, from a shrug of the shoulders to a flood of words. The inexperienced judge may be deceived by the positiveness of such expressions and believe that such certainty must be based on something which the witness can not utter through lack of skill. If, now, the judge is going to help the "unaided'' witness with "of course you mean because,'' or "perhaps because,'' etc., the witness, if she is not a fool, will say "yes.'' Thus we get apparently well-founded assertions which are really founded on nothing more than "that must be.''

Cases dealing with divisions, distinctions and analysis rarely contain ungrounded assertions by women. Women are well able to analyse and explain data, and what one is capable of and understands, one succeeds in justifying. Their difficulty is in synthetic work, in progressive movement, and there they simply assert. The few observations of this characteristic confirm this statement. For example, Lafitte says that at medical examinations women are unable to do anything which requires synthetic power. Women's judgments of men further confirm this position, for they are said to be more impressed with a minimal success, than with a most magnificent effort. Now there is no injustice, no superficiality in this observation; its object is simply parallel to their incapacity for synthesis. Inasmuch as they are able to follow particular things they will understand a single success, but the growth of efficiency toward the future requires composition and wide horizon, hence they can not understand it. Hence, also, the curious contradictions in women's statements as suspicion rises and falls. A woman, who to-day knows of a hundred reasons for the guilt of some much- compromised prisoner, tries to turn everything the other way when she later learns that the prisoner has succeeded in producing some apparent alibi. So again, if the prosecution seems to be successful, the women witnesses for the defence often become the most dangerous for the defenders.

But here, also, women find a limit, perhaps because like all weaklings they are afraid to draw the ultimate conclusions. As Leroux says in "De l'Humanit,'' "If criminals were left to women they would kill them all in the first burst of anger, and if one waited until this burst had subsided they would release them all.'' The killing points to the easy excitability, the passionateness, and the instinctive sense of justice in women which demands immediate revenge for evil deeds. The liberation points to the fact that women are afraid of every energetic deduction of ultimate consequences, i. e., they have no knowledge of real justice. "Men look for reasons, women judge by love; women can love and hate, but they can not be just without loving, nor can they ever learn to value justice.'' So says Schiller, and how frequently do we not hear the woman's question whether the accused's fate is going to depend on her evidence. If we say yes, there is as a rule a restriction of testimony, a titillation and twisting of consequences, and this circumstance must always be remembered. If you want to get truth from a woman you must know the proper time to begin, and what is more important, when to stop. As the old proverb says, and it is one to take to heart: "Women are wise when they act unconsciously; fools when they reflect.''

It is a familiar fact that women, committing crimes, go to extremes. It may be correct to adduce, as modern writers do, the weakness of feminine intelligence to social conditions, and it may, perhaps, be for this reason that the future of woman lies in changing the feminine milieu. But also with regard to environment she is an extremist. The most pious woman, as Richelieu says, will not hesitate to kill a troublesome witness. The most complicated crimes are characteristically planned by women, and are frequently swelled with a number of absolutely purposeless criminal deeds.

In this circumstance we sometimes find the explanation for an otherwise unintelligible crime which, perhaps, indicates also, that the first crime was committed by woman. It is as if she has in turpitude a certain pleasure to which she abandons herself as soon as she has passed the limit in her first crime.

Section 73. 3. Quarrels with Women.

This little matter is intended only for very young and inexperienced criminal justices. There is nothing more exciting or instructive than a quarrel with clever and trained women concerning worthy subjects; but this does not happen in court, and ninety per cent. of our woman witnesses are not to be quarrelled with. There are two occasions on which a quarrel may arise. The first, when we are trying to show a denying prisoner that her crime has already been proved and that her denials are silly, and the second, when we are trying to show a witness that she must know something although she refuses to know it, or when we want to show her the incorrectness of her conclusion, or when we want to lead her to a point where her testimony can have further value. Now a verbal quarrel will hurt the case. This is a matter of ancient experience, for whoever quarrels with women is, as Brne says, in the condition of a man who must unceasingly polish lights.[1]

[1] Several sentences are here omitted.

Women have an obstinacy, and it is no easy matter to be passive against it. But in the interest of justice, the part of the wise is not to lose any time by making an exhibition of himself through verbal quarrels with women witnesses. The judge may be thoroughly convinced that his success with the woman may help the case, but such success is very rare, and when he thinks he has it, it is only apparent and momentary, or is merely naive self-deception. For women do like, for the sake of a momentary advantage, to please men and to appear convinced, but the judge for whom a woman does this is in a state that requires consideration.

A few more particulars concerning feminine intelligence. They are, however, only indirectly connected with it, and are as unintelligible as the fact that left-handedness is more frequent and color- blindness less frequent among women than among men. If, however, we are to explain feminine intelligence at all we must do so by conceiving that women's intellectual functioning stops at a definite point and can not pass beyond it.

Consider their attitude toward money. However distasteful Mammon may be in himself, money is so important a factor in life itself that it is not unintelligibly spoken of as the "majesty of cold cash.'' But to make incorrect use of an important thing is to be unintelligent. Whoever wastes money is not intelligent enough to understand what important pleasures he may provide for himself and whoever hoards it does not know its proper use. Now single women are either hoarders or wasters; they rarely take the middle way and assume the prudence of the housewife, which generally develops into miserliness. This is best observable in the foolish bargaining of women at markets, in their supposing that they have done great things by having reduced the price of their purchase a few cents. Every dealer confirms the fact that the first price he quotes a woman is increased in order to give her a chance to bargain. But she does not bargain down to the proper price, she bargains down to a sum above the proper price, and she frequently buys unnecessary, or inferior things, simply because the dealer was smart enough to captivate her by allowing reductions. This is indicated in a certain criminal case,[1] in which the huckster-woman asserted that she immediately suspected a customer of passing counterfeit coins because she did not bargain.

[1] Chronique des Tribunaux, vol II. Bruxelles 1835.

Now this tendency to hoard is not essentially miserliness, for the chief purpose of miserliness is to bring together and to own money; to enjoy merely the look of it. This tendency is an unintelligent attitude toward money, a failure to judge its value and properties. Now this failure is one of the principal reasons for numerous crimes. A woman needing money for her thousand several objects, demands it from her husband, and the latter has to provide it without her asking whether he honestly can or not. A wife is said to be uncurious only with regard to the source of her husband's money. She knows his income, she knows the necessary annual expenses; she can immediately count up the fact that the two are equal—but she calmly asks for more.

Of course, I am not referring to the courageous helpmeet who stands by her husband in bearing the burdens of life. With her the criminalist has nothing to do. I mean only those light-headed, pleasure-loving women, who nowadays make the great majority, and that army of "lovers,'' who have cost the country a countless number of not unworthy men. The love of women is the key to many a crime, even murder, theft, swindling, and treachery. First, there is the woman's unintelligible arithmetic, then her ceaseless requirements, finally the man's surrender to the limit of his powers; then fresh demands, a long period of opposition, then surrender, and finally one unlawful action. From that it is only a step to a great crime. This is the simple theme of the countless variations that are played in the criminal court. There are proverbs enough to show how thoroughly the public understands this connection between love and money.[2]

[2] Cf. Lombroso and Ferrero, The Female Offender: Tr. by Morrison. N. Y. 1895.

An apparently insignificant feminine quality which is connected with her intelligence is her notorious, "never quite ready.'' The criminalist meets this when he is looking for an explanation of the failure of some probably extraordinarily intelligent plan of crime. Or when a crime occurs which might have been prevented by a step at the right minute, women are always ten minutes behind the time. But these minutes would not be gained if things were begun ten minutes earlier, and once a woman suffers real damage through tardiness, she resolves to be ten minutes ahead of time. But when she does so she fails in her resolution and this failure is to be explained by lack of intelligence. The little fact that women are never quite on time explains many a difficulty.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15     Next Part
Home - Random Browse